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MISSIONS: ‘Rope-holders’ vital to missions

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wanda Lee, executive director of WMU, adds her voice to this year’s prayer emphasis for international missions in the Southern Baptist Convention, under the theme “One Sacred Effort — Find your place in God’s story.” The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches support approximately 4,800 international missionaries in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at imb.org/offering, where there are resources to promote the offering. For resources in Spanish, click here. This year’s goal is $175 million.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — “Urgent prayer needed!”

Those words were on an email subject line from the other side of the world. The baby was coming early and quickly, but they lived many miles from the nearest hospital.

As they frantically drove to the city, they were afraid. A quick plea for prayer went out to anyone on their prayer team checking email at that moment, so I prayed. Then, communication went silent for hours.

I could only imagine how their parents in the U.S. were feeling, knowing their children were in this difficult situation. They were new to the mission field, had few friends there at this point, and everything seemed strange and complicated.

Several hours later, word came they made it to the hospital in time, and a healthy but tiny baby was born. Mother and baby would be fine with rest and care. Their fear had turned to praise and thanksgiving for God’s protection and intercession through knowledgeable hospital staff.

The way they handled their situation became a testimony to the staff who assisted them. They were able to share the story of One who gave His life so they might live.

As I have reflected on their experience, I am reminded of the testimony they voiced months earlier in their appointment service. God had placed in their hearts a desire to share His love with people they had never met. They each had experienced the unconditional love and forgiveness that comes from God alone and wanted every person to know that truth as well.

And so they went to this new place with their family to face uncertain days, to learn new ways of living and managing the basic needs of life as a family, to learn a new language and a new culture. They went feeling confident of God’s call and the promise of His presence, and that was enough.

All around our world individuals and families like this one are living their faith so vibrantly that people who are just watching from the sidelines take notice and ask, “Why are you different?”

I wonder if those watching us see the same thing. You and I have the privilege of walking alongside our missionaries in this one sacred effort of sharing Christ with those who have never heard. We each have a place in God’s story of redemption. We have been redeemed and called to help others know that they, too, can be a child of God; to know His love and care just as this missionary couple does.

But with this privilege comes responsibility. Those of us remaining at home have been called to hold the ropes. What does that mean? We are the ones who place our money in the offering plate so they can go; we pray before and after the urgent pleas over email so they can stay; and when they need us to come and help, we go.

What is your place in God’s great plan for sharing His story with a world in need of the Gospel? Has He called you to leave the place you love and embrace “the new” to tell His story? Or maybe He has called you to remain as a rope holder and share the love of Jesus right where you are.

Whatever His call, the greatest joy comes from discovering it and following Him each day.

    About the Author

  • Wanda S. Lee